A low basso profundo boomed from the other room,
“Hallo Herr Sullivan. Guten Morgen.”
My landlord’s voice ricocheted through the apartment making it impossible to hear my roommate’s attempt at a polite German response.
I knew this voice belonged to my landlord, whose name is Hans. However, buried snugly in covers in the bedroom, I had no idea what Hans looked like.
While lying in bed I imagined him as tall and round with white-gold hair and blue eyes. He is a born and raised Bavarian after all Since it is only my imagination, I also imagined that he is wearing Lederhosen.
His true visage remained a mystery for several visits as I relished my fictitious version and had no desire to get out of bed and answer the door when he rang.
But alas, my vision was to be shattered one bright morning when Hans had scheduled what he promised was his last visit for a while . Until then he had only dealt with Mein Freund, Herr Sullivan, but it was a work day and I was the only one available.
So I put on my hand tie-dyed organic cotton yoga pants, pulled a sweater over my fuchsia-hair-covered-head and answered the door. I was clearly not what he was expecting.
“Hallo Herr S….ah….also… Frau Romer” he fumbled.
He was also somewhat of a surprise for me. Where I had expected to find soft features, I found a dramatic nose and a chiseled jaw, and the closest thing he had to blonde hair was the soot-colored flecks in the dark curly mop on top of his head.
“Ya, Hallo. Ich bin Autumn.” I finally replied having no desire for anyone to call me Frau anything.
“Yes, like Herbst.”
“Herbst?” he said with some confusion.
“Yes, Autumn means Herbst in Deutsch.” I said frankly, having become accustom to translating my name everywhere I went.
“Like fall? oh ha ha ha ha”
His laughter practically rocked the tiles in the bathroom. This tall, heavily-accented German named Hans apparently found my name to be hilarious. So hilarious that he couldn’t stop laughing.
Even as he left, saying “Auf Wiedersehen Frau Romer” he couldn’t hold back a chuckle. I could hear him muttering “like fall” as his laughter echoed down the stairs.